Saratoga Notes - July 29
By New York Racing Association
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap winner Tizway had his final serious work for next Saturday’s Grade 1 Whitney Invitational Handicap, covering five furlongs over the Oklahoma training track in 1:00.23.
“It was just perfect,” said H. James Bond, who trains the 6-year-old son of Tiznow for William Clifton, Jr. “Everything went according to what we wanted. He went five-eighths in a minute and galloped out in 1:13 and a couple. I had another horse just to press him the last quarter-mile, just like I did before the Met Mile and he [Tizway] came home in 23 flat.
“Everything looks great and he’ll train lightly into the race,” he added.
Facing Tizway in the 1 1/8-mile Whitney will likely be Apart, Duke of Mischief, Flat Out, Friend Or Foe, Giant Oak, Headache, Mission Impazible, Morning Line, Rail Trip, and Rodman.
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Trainer David Fawkes said Thursday that he was likely to work probable Grade 1 Whitney contender Duke of Mischief in company with Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt hopeful Apriority Sunday morning at Saratoga Race Course.
“Duke was going to breeze tomorrow, but if it rains like it’s supposed to this afternoon, I’m probably going to breeze him and Apriority together on Sunday,” Fawkes said. “I do that sometimes – it gives them something to do and adds a little competition. They’ve only been here a couple of days, but so far everybody’s happy and eating well. They left Calder Monday, they got here Tuesday and went to the track, Thursday, Friday, and today.”
Apriority exits a nose loss in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes on May 7 and prior to that was defeated 1 ½ lengths by Morning Line in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct on April 9. Duke of Mischief was fourth, beaten just two lengths in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster on June 18 at Churchill Downs following an impressive victory in the April 15 Grade 3 Charles Town Classic.
“They’re both tough races, but my horses both fit in,” Fawkes said. “We had a little bounce last time with Duke; I don’t think he wants that long of a stretch. I made a bad call – I told him [jockey Joe Bravo] to move early. He only got beat two lengths and he ran a great race, he just flattened out a little. Bad trainer, good horse.”
This summer is the first that the Florida-based Fawkes has brought a string to Saratoga, though he has run stakes horses here in the past, most recently 2010’s Champion Male Sprinter Big Drama, who finished second in both the Vanderbilt and the Grade 1 Forego here last year before going on to take the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
“It’s nice,” Fawkes said of Saratoga, where he has approximately 27 horses. “I’ve never stabled here before, I’ve just come in and run and left. Big Drama last year and [in 2006] Take D’ Tour. I actually kept her here for about a month over at Oklahoma with Tim Hills.”
Take D’ Tour, who won the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Handicap at Belmont Park in both 2006 and 2007, ran once at Saratoga, finishing fourth in 2006’s Grade 1 Go for Wand Handicap.
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He’s won two graded stakes. He’s trained almost exclusively at Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course since mid-May. And yet Mission Impazible has yet to race in New York.
That is all expected to change when Mission Impazible competes in the Grade 1 Whitney Invitational on August 6. Trained by Todd Pletcher for Twin Creeks Racing Stables, the son of Unbridled’s Song won the 2010 Grade 2 Louisiana Derby and this year’s Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap, both at the Fair Grounds, and was second by a neck after leading in the final stages of the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs on June 18.
“I can’t explain why [he hasn’t raced in New York],” said Pletcher. “We’re hoping he can improve just a little bit off his narrow defeat in the Foster. He needs to step up, but maybe with winning the New Orleans Handicap this could put him in the mix [for Champion Older Horse].”
The August 6 card will also include the Grade 1, seven-furlong Test for 3-year-old fillies, in which Pletcher plans to send out Her Smile, who won the Grade 1 Prioress at Belmont on July 4.
Previously trained by Leigh Delacour for owner William M. Backer, Her Smile was purchased by celebrity chef Bobby Flay following a second in the Grade 3 Comely at Aqueduct Racetrack in April. Subsequently transferred to Pletcher, she finished 11th in the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs in May and third in the Grade 1 TVG Acorn at Belmont in June prior to her breakthrough victory in the Prioress.
The six-furlong Prioress was Her Smile’s first race in a sprint since November 2010, and Pletcher sees the Include filly remaining at abbreviated distances going forward.
“We want loads of pace in front of us and to come from off the pace,” said Pletcher.
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Trainer Mike Hushion will be well-represented next Saturday when he sends out Met Mile runner-up Rodman in the Grade 1 Whitney Invitational and Roman Treasure and Ava K. in the Grade 1 Test.
Rodman, who will likely work on Sunday for the 1 1/8-mile Whitney, has been no worse than third in four starts this year, most recently finishing third in the Grade 2 Suburban to Flat Out after setting the early pace.
“He had a bit of an excuse in breaking badly, and then he had to rush up a little bit,” said Hushion of the 6-year-old, who had run a lifetime best Beyer Speed Figure of 108 in the Met Mile. “I don’t know how much effect the race before had on him. The Suburban wasn’t a terrible race, nothing to be ashamed of.”
Hushion has named Hall of Famer Edgar Prado to ride Rodman, who is 2-for-2 on the dirt at Saratoga.
“And Prado’s never lost on the dirt with him, either,” said the trainer, “so everything is pointing in the right direction.”
Roman Treasure, who has won half her six starts this year, will be making her second consecutive Grade 1 appearance in the Test. In the Prioress at Belmont Park on July 4, the Roman Ruler filly rushed up to set sizzling fractions of 21.78 and 44.55 before being overtaken in the stretch and finishing fifth.
“I don’t think there’s anyone who wants to run with her in the Test,” said Hushion. “Hopefully, last time she let everyone know what kind of horse she is. That certainly fried her a little bit.”
Ramon Dominguez will be back aboard Roman Treasure, said Hushion, who will also send out New York-bred Ava K. in the seven-furlong race. The daughter of Dixie Union is 5-0-2 from seven starts, having finished third in the Grade 3 Comely and the Wanda overnight stakes in her lone forays in open company.
“I think if she were to relax a little and give it her ‘A’ race, she could be competitive,” said Hushion.
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Lisa’s Booby Trap, who took last year’s Loudonville for owner-trainer Tim Snyder, returns to action at the Spa on Monday as she takes on eight other fillies and mares as the 5-2 favorite in the $75,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes.
Now 4, Lisa’s Booby Trap attracted national attention last year when she came to Saratoga having won three straight at Finger Lakes, remaining undefeated with a six-length victory as the 3-2 favorite. In her next start, she was 10th in the Riskaverse on the turf later in the meet, and closed out her 3-year-old campaign with a third-place finish at Finger Lakes.
She enters Monday’s seven-furlong race having won two of her three 2011 starts.
Facing Lisa’s Booby Trap in the Rachel Alexandra will be Belle of the Hall, Decelerator, Katy Now, Buckleupbuttercup, Kid Kate, Comic Marvel, Worstcasecenario, and Ailalea.
Snyder said if the Drewman filly runs well in the Rachel Alexandra, he would think about starting her in the Grade 1 Ballerina on Travers Day, Saturday, August 27.
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Godolphin Racing’s Regal Ransom returned to the worktab Thursday morning at Saratoga Race Course, turning in his first breeze since finishing last as the favorite in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs on June 18. Working alone at 5:30 a.m., Regal Ransom, who won Dubai’s Group 2 UAE Derby and Grade 2 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs in 2009, breezed three furlongs in 36.24 seconds over the main track.
Prior to the Stephen Foster, Regal Ransom was beaten a nose by recently-retired Grade 1 winner First Dude in the Grade 3 Alysheba Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 6 and a neck by Capt. Candyman Can, the 2009 Grade 1 King’s Bishop winner, in the Sir Shackleton Handicap at Gulfstream Park in April.